Father of student challenges Aadhaar rule for admission, Bombay HC says can’t be adamant

Parent had sought court’s directions to grant admission to boy without furnishing Aadhaar details

Written by Ruhi Bhasin | Mumbai | Updated: July 2, 2017 2:31:14 am

The father of a 17-year-old recently approached the Bombay High Court seeking directions to grant admission to the boy in 12th standard at St Xavier’s College without furnishing the child’s Aadhaar card or that of his or his wife’s. The High Court, however, refused to grant him any relief.

Initially, the court suggested that the petitioner, John Abrahim, a resident of Andheri, submit the Aadhaar card as required under various recent government resolutions. If he did so, the court would consider issuing direction to the college and the Trust, Bombay St. Xavier’s College Society, that runs and manages the institution, to grant admission to his son, besides granting a certain time for submission of the Aadhaar card to the college.

Abrahim, however, informed the court later that he was unwilling to obtain the Aadhaar card.

“We fail to understand the instance of not obtaining the Aadhaar Card. It appears that the petitioner (Abrahim) is adamant and wants to take a stand only for the purpose of adamancy. We are, therefore, not inclined to grant an interim relief,” said Justice B R Gavai.

Abrahim will now approach the Supreme Court.

According to the petition filed by Abrahim on behalf of his son Isaac John, the boy took admission to First Year Junior College in arts stream in 2016-17. Thereafter, the college put up a notice on its official website stating that regular college for the Second Year Junior College (XII) for arts would begin from June 15, 2017. It also said the admission procedure needed to be completed by then.

On May 3, Abrahim and his son went to the college for the re-admission process and submitted the required form. “St Xavier’s College after scrutiny of the form, pointed out that the re-admission form was incomplete as the petitioner’s son had not mentioned his Adhaar number,” read the petition.

Abrahim informed the officials that his son did not have an Aadhaar number/card and also said that as per the provision of law, registration of Aadhaar card is not mandatory but voluntary.

An official asked him to get a written permission from the principal of the college accepting the re-admission form.

On meeting the principal, Abrahim was told that the government has passed a resolution according to which, for securing admission in the 12th standard, Aadhaar registration had been made mandatory. “The Petitioner requested the Principal to allow him to see the resolution of the government but the Principal referred to a resolution passed in the year 2015 and did not provide any further details nor gave a copy,” added the petition.

Abrahim then sent a legal notice asking the college to accept the re-admission form. He,however, did not receive any reply.

“In view of the order passed by the Supreme Court of India whereby it has held that no person shall be deprived of any service for want of Adhaar number in case he is otherwise eligible/entitled to and had further directed all the authorities to modify their respective forms/circulars etc. so as not to make Adhaar number mandatory,” stated the petition. “For want of Adhaar number, which is not a mandatory requirement, my son, who otherwise is meritorious and eligible, is being refused an opportunity of being educated and is being denied an opportunity of realising his potential in achieving his goal thereby denying him his fundamental right to lead his life with respect and dignity,” it read.

After searching for relevant government resolutions, he came across four pertaining to Aadhaar number issued by the School Education and Sports Department of the state. The resolution of April 21, 2015, which is the first such resolution, casts a duty on the authority to undertake Aadhaar registration drives of students within their jurisdiction and the rest of the resolution provides for time frame and the manner in which the drive is to be undertaken, claims the petition. The first GR was apparently challenged before the high court, it said. The court recorded the Supreme Court order on the issue before disposing it of.

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